Cover image screenshotted from Korean Exposé – YouTube.

Imagine a situation where you’re secretly filmed in the shower, bathroom stall, or dressing room, and that private footage is distributed online for the masses to consume and seek out for arousal.

Then, imagine that there’s nothing you can do about it, and law enforcement isn’t really interested in finding and putting to justice whoever did that to you.

Sounds unreal and totally unacceptable, right? But countless women in South Korea say this is what happened to them.

Because of these real-life invasive scenarios, many South Korean women have taken up defensive habits to protect themselves from sexual predators. When climbing the stairs in public places, many women cover themselves with their handbags. Before getting their business done, they scan the corners of public restrooms for cameras, checking holes or nails in unusual spots. These are just a few of many scenarios according to reports by Korea Exposé.

And now, women are taking a stand and doing something about the regular violations of privacy they deal with.

The largest women protest in South Korea history

This week, Korea Exposé reports that over 22,000 women took to the streets to protest against spycam porn and raise awareness about the alleged uninterest that law enforcement has in prosecuting spycam perpetrators.

The demonstration in Hyehwa, Seoul, on Saturday, June 9th, was the biggest women’s rally thus far in South Korean history (seconded only by the same organizer’s first rally on May 19).

Related: How The Porn Industry Profits Off Of Privacy Violation

“Women in Korea are always exposed to illegal filming,” stated the organizer, Women March for Justice, in a press release. “It has been a normal daily life for Korean women to be exposed to illegal filming anytime and anywhere, and to deal with negligent police investigations, secondary harm, and the obscene expressions by the press.”

To put into perspective the alleged inaction and/or discrimination of law enforcement around spycam issues, between 2012 and 2017, out of the nearly 30,000 male suspects investigated by police, less than 3% were arrested for investigation. Out of the 523 female suspects during the same time period, 4 were arrested (0.8%).

Suffice to say, countless South Koreans have had enough.

Here’s video footage from Saturday’s massive protest:

Citing a 2018 study from the Korean Women Lawyers Association, Korea Exposé reports that 24.9% of sex crimes in the country involved cameras in 2015, compared to 3.6% in 2006. The study found that subway stations had the most spycams, but that cameras are hidden in a number of other spaces, including buses, taxis, pools, supermarkets, and restrooms. The cameras have also reportedly been installed in men’s shoes to take upskirt photos and in bathroom stall screws.

And the worst part?

There usually aren’t serious legal repercussions for that kind of unacceptable and invasive exploitation. Check out this video from Korea Exposé, where anti-sex crimes activist Yena Ha explains the seriousness of the situations and the harm of the accessibility of these tiny cameras. (Warning, there are some triggering images in this video.)

In South Korea, it’s actually illegal to distribute hardcore porn with the explicit display of sex acts. Whereas producers in neighboring Japan’s massive porn industry can operate so long as they pixelate genitals, South Korea lacks a legitimate hardcore porn industry. Only softcore porn that doesn’t show genitals and simulates sex acts on film is legal.

Which may be why so much happens underground. There’s an alarming amount of spycam and revenge porn online—no one can measure the scale of an underground industry.

Related: True Story: A Hacker Secretly Streamed My Phone Camera To A Porn Site

Outrage over the government’s failure to prosecute men who non-consensually collect and distribute intimate video footage of women came to a head last month when a 25-year-old woman in Seoul was arrested for uploading a nude photo of a male model without his consent. Police were criticized for being unusually quick with investigating and punishing the perpetrator when it was a woman, when women victims say they often face sexism, skepticism, and a lack of urgency for similar or worse crimes.

“Korean women are often told that they are simply too sensitive when they question the status quo, and that they are making themselves uncomfortable to be around,” an anonymous organizer of Saturday’s protest, called “The Courage to Be Uncomfortable,” told Korea Exposé. “We are reclaiming our right to challenge existing conditions that aggravate sexual discrimination. We are raising uncomfortable issues.”

Why This Matters

This content exists because there’s a demand for it. Like what Yena Ha said in the video above, if consumers stop clicking non-consensual content, perpetrators lose their power. This is why we’re out to stop the demand for sexual exploitation and pornography.

Can you imagine living like you’re always being watched? Everybody has a right to privacy. No one should fear that their most personal and intimate moments could be uploaded to a website to be viewed by millions, or have to worry that they are being filmed without their consent. Nobody deserves such treatment, and yet this is exactly what the porn industry is doing. The porn industry is fueling exploitation, violations of privacy, and emotional damage because of the content they are creating, publishing, and sharing.

Related: My Husband Was Arrested For Secretly Filming My Teammates In Our Locker Room

For all the damage that the porn industry is inflicting on our society, there is one piece of hope: you can change it. Your clicks can make an incredible difference in shutting down these categories of porn. If there is no demand for voyeuristic or revenge porn, the porn industry will not reward it—it’s as simple as that. If we stop the demand, we can stop the exploitation.

Are you with us?

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Porn doesn’t sell a harmless fantasy, it promotes the exploitation of real people. SHARE this article and take a stand for real love.

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